Sometimes I really need my Echo to show, not tell.
I’m fairly embedded in the Alexa ecosystem. There’s a full-sized Echo in my living room, an Echo Dot in my bedroom, and the Alexa-enabled Triby sits on my fridge in the kitchen. I don’t use Alexa for anything particularly special, mostly just music/podcasts and smart light control and the occasional timer. There’s a lot more I could do with Alexa, but I often find the experience limiting without a display to accompany the sound.
I currently have a tablet mounted in my kitchen to resolve this issue, but I’m hoping the new Echo Show from Amazon will replace that separate piece of hardware. Here’s what really pushed me to pre-order as soon as it was announced.
I want voice-controlled recipes
I do most of the cooking in my house, and frequently rely on recipe apps when trying something new. Alexa already has a bunch of different recipe skills, but they’re all voice-based and I need something visual. I need to be able to glance at an ingredient list, and I’d prefer to be able to do this with just my voice because sometimes a recipe involves me getting my hands covered in whatever I’m cooking.
Amazon and its partners being able to deliver a totally voice driven recipe experience with results and details on a display so I can quickly glance would be a big deal for me. It seems like all of the pieces are there for this to work, so I’m hoping this becomes a game changer for me in the kitchen.
I can see my connected cameras
If the FedEx guy is dropping something off and I don’t need to sign for it, or if there’s a marketer at the door trying to sell me something, I can check the Ring app from my phone and never actually need to leave my office. The only way that experience could be improved is by not needing to interrupt my current task by grabbing my phone and touching the display.
Being able to glance at the Echo Show, see who is at the door, and react without my fingers leaving the keyboard is going to be amazing. Knowing Amazon supports Ring, Arlo, and other connected cameras out of the box is a big selling point for me.
I want Echo-level audio quality in a tablet
One of the big things I do with my kitchen tablet when I’m not using it for a recipe is streaming video. I like being able to catch up on the shows no one else in the house watches while I cook, but even the loudest tablet speakers struggle to keep up with the roar of a frying pan and a blender and a microwave all at once.
Amazon has proven itself capable of designing room-filling speakers with the Echo, and the Echo Show is promising the same kind of experience. Echo Show currently only supports YouTube streaming, but as more apps become available it’s likely this will become a critical streaming accessory in my house.
Simplified video chat could be cool
I have no shortage of video chat apps, but my kids usually need to come to me in order to call the grandparents or my sister in Hawaii. If I can convince my sister to pick up one of these as well, the kids will be able to video chat whenever they want (within reason) and I won’t need to stop what I’m doing or hand over my phone to facilitate this conversation.
My kids are already big Echo users, so I see this being a feature frequently used by the younger members of my household. Who knows, I may decide it’s a better video chat solution and use it occasionally as well.
The price is more than reasonable
I was happy to pay $200 for the original Amazon Echo, so I have zero problems paying $30 more for a significant boost in features. The $230 price tag is cheaper than any tablet I’d want to use around the house for these same things, offers way better audio, and because I’m already an Echo user will require very little setup on my end.
I probably would have purchased another Echo Dot had I really been looking to expand my Alexa connectivity throughout the house, but streamlining my kitchen tech and offering some new features along the way is enough to push me to ensure I’ll be opening my own Echo Show on launch day.